On this most solemn of morning for Americans, there are always a wide range of emotions. Can you believe that it has been 13 years since that fateful September morning when our nation was attacked? I was in fourth grade. I remember the day so vividly in my mind. Today, I sit in my office in Washington D.C. looking out over the busy streets. Flags are flying at half-mass to call to memory all of those who were lost. I see the Washington Monument in the distance, standing tall, a symbol of pride proclaiming “We will not be shaken.” Just last night, a few blocks from where I sit, President Obama delivered an address to the nation. Though so much has changed in the last 13 years, not all that much has really changed. We’re still facing hatred, terror, war, and injustice. Our world is still shaken every day by explosions and gunfire. One is tempted to think that there isn’t much hope for change.
But that’s when the memory of Jesus Christ is called to mind. My savior who defeated death and rose from the grave. My savior who offers redemption and salvation to the terrorist and politician alike. My savior who proclaims “Peace be with you” over the earth each day. And in that memory, I am called to remember that hope is not lost. A brighter day is to come. The earth, which groans in labor pangs, is being renewed and conformed to the order of her Creator. A better day is coming. For America. For our world. God is on the move.
Would you take a moment with me this morning and offer up this prayer to God for our nation and our world?
With all our heart and all our mind, we pray to you, O Lord.
Make us instruments of your peace.
For the peace of the world, that a spirit of respect and forbearance may grow among nations and peoples, we pray to you, O Lord:
Where there is hatred, let us sow love.
For our enemies and those who wish us harm, especially those led to acts of terror;
that in the aftermath of the destruction of September 11th, 2001
we may grow ever more deeply in your spirit of justice and peace, we pray to you, O Lord:
Were there is injury, let us sow pardon.
For all who believe in you, Lord Christ, and all whose faith is known to you alone,
that they may be delivered from the darkness of fanaticism that arises from poverty and oppression, and from the pride that arises from wealth and comfort,
and brought into your light, we pray to you, O Lord:
Where there is discord, let us sow union.
For those who have lost their faith in you, for those who continue to mourn those who died on that terrible day, that your Church may give comfort and hope in this time of remembrance, we pray to you, O Lord:
Were there is doubt, let us sow faith.
For all those whose spirit has been broken and whose lives have been disrupted
by the violence of that day and its aftermath, we offer our prayers along with the persecuted, the lonely, and the sick, and those who have bid our prayers today, that they may be relieved and protected. Especially we pray for those whose names appear on the Peace Altar.
For these and for those whose need we do not know, we pray to you, O Lord:
Where there is despair, let us sow hope.
For the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church, especially in the Diocese of New York; that we may hear the Gospel and proclaim it in word and action to build up your kingdom here on earth, we pray to you, O Lord:
Where there is darkness, let us sow light.
For all who died in the terror of September 2001 and for those others whom we remember today; for those who believed in your resurrection
and those who did not know your promise of eternal life, in trust that they have been found by you and are at rest in your holy habitation, we pray to you, O Lord:
Where there is sadness, let us sow joy.
And we pray for the forgiveness of our sins.
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to
understand; to be loved as to love.
Take heart, in Christ we have been reconciled to God.
For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we reborn to eternal life. Amen.
(Adapted from Episcopal Church USA Liturgy for 9/11- Prayer of the People)
May we always remember. May we be the change that we hope to see. May we continue to hope for a better tomorrow. May we cling to our Savior who proclaims “Peace” over all of the earth.